How to DIY festive ribbon wands instead of throwing confetti

Guest post by gogojira
ribbon wands on offbeat bride alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)
If you don't want to make ribbon wands, you can always buy them here

Since we're getting married on a patio on a cliff over the ocean, we thought it might be a bad idea to have our guests chuck grains at us and thereby feed dried rice to all kinds of birds, fish, and otherwise. I considered flower petals, seeds, confetti, etc., but either it's gonna induce a sneeze fest or be a bitch to clean up. Then I saw ribbon wands! Wow! What a wonderful idea!

It took about 3.5 hours to make 50 ribbon wands, which wasn't so bad. Here's how you can make them yourself…

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What you will need:

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Get started by turning a wood dowel on end and push the thumb tack into the center as far as you can. If you can get it almost all the way in, then you're good. Pull the tack out. If not, tap the tack into the dowel almost all the way in.

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Then, pull the tack out. You should end up with a hole like this.

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You make that starter hole to avoid splitting like in this picture.

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Once you have the hole, take an eye screw and screw it into the hole. It gets kinda rough after a while so you may want to wear work gloves.

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After that is in place get two 4 ft sections of ribbon in the colors of your choosing. The ends are probably frayed and that is where the candle comes in.

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Hold the ribbon over the flame just long enough to melt the frays and seal the end of the ribbon.

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Pull both ribbons up until the eye is in the middle of the ribbons.

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At this point you're going to tie them into a loose knot.

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Make sure your glue gun is hot and add a spot where the ribbon and the eye meet.

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Then pull the ribbons tight (Carefully though! Hot glue is hot) and you're done!!

You can add so many things to make these even more fabulous like bells and flowers, but we are just fine with these as they are.

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Comments on How to DIY festive ribbon wands instead of throwing confetti

  1. Love this idea. Very likely going to use it for my wedding next spring.

    And I love the idea of adding bells!

  2. I’ve been making these for 2 weeks now! I am so happy with the way they turned out!

    • Hopefully this will be used instead of the glass clanking for reception kisses

  3. Great tutorial!! I made these too – easy and fun DIY project. I also made ones using full length dowel rod that we will use to mark the aisle – same thing just longer rods and ribbons!

  4. Ribbon wands are amazing. We made about 60 for our wedding in April and at the time I worried that I was wasting my time and energy. BUT they were a huge hit with our guests and the photos of us walking with the guests waving them made it all worth the hard work!!

  5. Love this idea! I used a few colored ribbons, some rick rack, a jingle bell, and sticks I gathered to make mine. I also got a custom made rubber stamp with our names and the wedding date and stamped up some of the white ribbons. I hadn’t even THOUGHT of people using them instead of the clinking glasses but I sure hope they do! Good work!

    Super affordable and cute ribbon:

    CHEAP and fast stamps:

  6. My sister made these for her wedding in April, but added little jingle bells to the ends. Everyone ringing them over their heads as my sister and her busband left the reception made a neat ribbon tunnel. Super festive!

    • Hi

      I love the idea of adding a bell at the end. Just wondering how you attached it to the wand.


  7. Though I would improvise and just use hot glue and wrap the ribbon around the end once which I bet that would be less time consuming than the eye screw, I love this idea and think I might snag it as well.

  8. Tip for the screw eye – If you have an awl handy use the awl for the starter hole, start the screw eye and then insert the awl through the hole and use it to finish screwing the screw eye in. It’s how us picture framers do it to keep from killing our fingers. 😉

  9. I was so planning on doing this tomorrow! this post came just in time for me! Great tip about the thumbtack. I just need to find a place to get ribbon in bulk!

  10. Very cute! BTW, the link for the eye screws is going to the dowels. Just thought you’d wanna know!

  11. Bet they look great. Simple bubbles work well also (all ages love them)and look great in film and photos while walking through an arch of sparklers at night looks down-right amazing and feels magical too.

  12. I’m deeply considering making these after seeing a few wedding pics with them.

    As for confetti…if your wedding is outdoors and you’re worried about clean up, make biodegradable confetti out of rice paper. A paper cutter makes it easy to slice the paper into strips, and then chop them again into smaller squares. I’m making flower shaped confetti for my “confetti kids” by using those paper punches with the rice paper. Way more time consuming, but I’m only making enough for the kids.

  13. Thank you thank you thank you! I’m planning on making these, and now I have an easy tutorial to follow!

  14. I made these for my wedding that’s coming up in June. I added bells as well. We hope our guests will enjoy them!

    • Hi

      I love the idea of adding a bell at the end. Just wondering how you attached it to the wand.


      • I used tiny zip ties (cable ties) to attache the bell. I just got the smallest size I could, then picked out bells with a large enough hole so the zip tie would fit. Got them in the electrical section of Home Depot.

  15. We attached ribbons, pretty yarn and bells to end of bubble wands from Michael’s that had round handles. We displayed them by cutting holes in a Styrofoam cone and letting the ribbons hang down. We had a sign next to the wands that said, “Make a joyful noise as the Bride and Groom start their new life together.” I love how they came out.

  16. Thanks for the idea! I just found dowels for cheap on They have the eye hooks and ribbons, too. I even bought a bunch of tiny jingle bells. 🙂

      • I got the 6mm, which are very tiny. I’m going to try to thread them onto 1/8 inch ribbon. They’re very cute, but they don’t really seem to jingle… I’ll keep them, but wish I had gotten something slightly bigger.

  17. What a coincidence! Today we had an Asian Heritage Month Assemby, and one of the Grade 2 classes did a Chinese ribbon dance.

    Mind you, their sticks where a lot shorter. Probably a combo of it being cheaper, and it was less likely that someone would bonk someone else on the head with the stick.

  18. Ahhh, I want to do these! What’s the purpose of the hot clue keeping the ribbon to the eyehole? If it’s tied, shouldn’t it be okay?

    • Because ribbon is silky, the knot can slip. The glue just ensures that won’t happen.

  19. I found that you can cut ribbon with a wood burning tool to avoid frays right away. Thank you for this! I was wanting to know how to make them!

  20. Hey, I love this idea. Do you mind sharing with us how much they cost to make all together?


  21. Love it! Definitely considering. I just had an idea- this could be an excellent craft to do for waiting guests! I’m just trying to think of a way that doesn’t involve a hot glue now…

  22. I just started this project today for my June 29 wedding. It’s really fast and easy so far!

    Some potentially helpful info:

    I haven’t bought the ribbon yet, but to make 48 (starter number, I want to make more if there’s time) I spent $24 on dowels, eye screws, and a little sanding block to sand the paint off the end (which I think was $4). Do not buy dowels from craft stores (i.e. Michael’s), get them from a hardware store (Lowe’s, Home Depot) for a fraction of the price. The comparison I got was four feet of 3/8″ for $3 or $0.97.

    Ribbon varies a lot in price, which may be why there’s no costs on this DIY.

  23. I work as an event organiser and frequently use confetti,balloons,plastic sparkle bands,thermocol etc.for occasions.I was looking for some new decorations and your festive ribbon band exactly fits my requirement.The best part about the bands is they are economical,stiff,easy to make and does not make the floor messy after the party.Also it will make us get rid of using plastic and thermocol which are not easily disposable and not so eco-friendly.

    • Exactly same case with me, I am also an event organiser and I most plan for birthday parties for youngs. This type of stuffs are very popular among youngsters and they will definitely going to love this arrangements with ribbons.

  24. My son’s birthday is approaching and am planning to do something different this year for the party.I think I’ll chuck the idea of confetti and give it a try for festive ribbon wands this year.I remember kids often complaining about tiny chunks of confetti causing irritation to their eyes,sticking to their hair,ears and all over the body.Using festive ribbon wands will eliminate that annoyance and also they look more bright,colourful,attractive to kids.

  25. Festive ribbon bands are getting popular and are spotted in many parties,occasions.They have always fascinated me and I always wondered how to make them in less costs.It took me a while to understand the whole procedure but as I went step by step through the instructions,it looked quite perceptible to me now.A very great read for set of guidelines for a beginner.

  26. I just finished making these for my Sept. wedding. I attached my jingle bells by threading them with one of the ribbons (2 per wand) and tying a tight double knot. It did strike me as I was making them (and shooing my kitties away) that they are, essentially, cat toys. But people will love them too. I spray painted my dowels with antique gold spray paint and love the way they look. The individual wands do not make much noise (at first I was a little disappointed too) BUT when you get them all going together it sounds very festive (also parents won’t hate me as much once the wand gets home).

    I don’t do numbers, so I ended up going back for more supplies. The dowels, bells and spray paint were all finite but the ribbon was an issue and I ended up having to buy a second round ( I did 2 ribbons per wand, 3 colors total – ivory, pink and gold). I bought 6-7 standard spools of narrow ribbon. I found the narrow much easier to thread and knot than the wider. I did by mistake buy some wired ribbon and didn’t like the way it looked (I wanted flowy!).

    Excited for my guests to use them!

  27. P.S. I spent probably 40$ for all the supplies. The time investment ended up being quite a bit…about 8 hours total (over several days including waiting for the paint to dry). I used pliers to help me turn the screw eyes, after about 4 I was like, Ow, why does this hurt?!

  28. What size Eye Screws do you need for the size dowel rods being used? I am ordering them online so I can’t really compare size in person.

  29. This idea is really so cool. I once saw a girl wearing these types of ribbons and was wondering if I could get them in shops. But I did not get them anywhere. Now I am happy I know how to make them. Thanks for the idea.

  30. Word of Advice: I put a lot of effort into making super cute ribbon wands that had starfish shapes on top for our beach wedding in 2007. Not one of the guests raised those wands up and waved them as we walked down the aisle at the end of our ceremony.

    So, if you’re going to do this, add a small note telling people what to do with it. That way you don’t look back at your pictures and wonder why your guests are so dense. 🙂

  31. This is fantastic. Our wedding is at an environmentally-friendly local so we can’t have rice or confetti or sparklers, AND it’s subtly Harry Potter themed, so this is perfect!!
    Thank you for this tutorial!

  32. Amazing tutorial! Making some for my wedding. a tip to insert the screw: just put the dowel one side in water for a few minutes and the screws will get in like butter!
    Now on to adding ribbons and bell…

  33. What is the point in the hot glue dot at the end? Is it just to be sure the knot doesn’t come undone? This part of the DIY seemed unnecessary to me.

  34. I made these for my wedding in January. I want to leave a note with them saying what to do, but I haven’t got a clue how to phrase what I want people to do with them…any creative types have some suggestions?

  35. any clue how much these cost to make? Weighing the difference between buying already made or DIY’ing

  36. This is what my husband and I did at our wedding! Our reception was in a hotel and we wanted a grand exit bit we didn’t want to cause a mess for anyone working at the hotel. Everybody loved the ribbon wands, especially the kids (and kids at heart). We had them on a table at the reception so the kids could get a wand to entertain themselves if they got bored. It was so magical to see the kids, and our uncles!, dance around my brothers-in-law and I as we danced to “Let it Go.”

  37. These are a great substitute for SPARKLERS! They’re illegal at our landmark venue and illegal in Santa Clara county. We’ve had brides make these on long plastic dowels and attach Mylar streamers/ribbons to use for their grand exit at the end of the reception. The Mylar shines at night and looks wonderful in their exit photos. Great post, thanks!

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